Senate votes to increase wind energy funding

Senate votes to increase wind energy funding
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The Senate passed an amendment Tuesday that would keep funding for wind energy research and development at its current level and restore a cut that appropriators had put into their bill.

The amendment, from Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySchumer backs Pelosi as impeachment roils caucus Schumer backs up Pelosi's resistance to impeachment inquiry Murray move raises impeachment pressure on Schumer MORE (D-Ore.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation Trump health official: Controversial drug pricing move is 'top priority' Environmental advocates should take another look at biofuels MORE (R-Iowa), would provide $95.4 million for the Department of Energy’s wind program, up from the $80 million in the bill proposed by Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (R-Tenn.).

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Alexander, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees energy and water spending bill, is a frequent critic of wind energy, which he says gets too much government assistance and should compete on its own.

“We have sometimes heard that wind is a mature industry and that that is why the funding for research should be revoked or lowered,” Merkley said on the Senate floor.

“But, in fact, as wind is emerging, we're seeing continuous innovations that are resulting in different designs and different strategies for integrating intermittent wind energy into the grid,” he said. “As that wind component becomes substantially larger, we need to understand the details about how we accommodate it effectively.”

Alexander defended the funding level in the original bill.

“I wonder if the American taxpayers wouldn't think that $32 billion is enough to spend on giant windmills,” Alexander said. “That's the amount that the Congressional Research Service has said that Congress has spent of taxpayers' money to subsidize wealthy people so they can build giant wind turbines across America.”

The amendment passed 54-42.

The Senate also voted to pass a bipartisan measure from Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason Reid2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Panel: How Biden's gaffes could cost him against Trump MORE (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) to add $50 million to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ pilot projects aimed at conserving water in the Colorado River Basin.

Senators voted to reject a proposal from Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeArpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) to defund federal support for local and state environmental projects through the Army Corps.